9/11 holds special memories for Peoria Fire Chief Bobby Ruiz

PEORIA, AZ - For Peoria Fire Chief, Bobby Ruiz, the anniversary of September 11th brings back a flood of memories from more than a decade ago.

"The sights come back, the smells come back, all of the emotions come back," Ruiz said.

Ruiz was part of a special task force made up of 80 firefighters from across the state. Once flight-travel resumed, the team raced to Ground Zero.

"Paramedics and people that are specially trained for breaching and breaking concrete and doing search and rescue," he said.

He said the work was tough. He said the scene was unforgettable.

"If you can imagine these buildings made out of steel, concrete and glass. The only thing that survive was the steel. Then concrete and glass was just pulverized to just powder," he said.

For more than two weeks, Ruiz and his team worked long days doing grim work.

He says the anniversary is a reminder to firefighters, and everyone to be vigilant and prepared.

"You never know if it's man-made or a natural disaster that comes our way, so you should always be ready."

Ruiz oversees 140 sworn firefighting personnel, which is less than half of the 343 firefighter killed on 9/11. He hopes nothing like it ever happens again.

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